As we navigate the pandemic I have been thinking about a statue in the St. Boniface Sculpture Garden on Provencher Boulevard in Winnipeg. It’s rather eerie and is titled Between Dog and Wolf. Unveiled on May 26, 2011, Between Dog and Wolf is by Canadian artist Joe Fafard.
Between dog and wolf in French is entre chien et loup. The expression first became popular in the 13th century and describes a time of day in the morning or evening when the dim light makes it impossible to distinguish between a dog and a wolf.
Fafard has made his sculpture look ghostly. I kept trying to focus my camera to get a better shot because my photos seemed a little blurry. If you look closely at the empty cut out spaces in the piece, you can see all kinds of silhouettes–a church steeple, a man’s face, a woman carrying a basket, angels, birds, a cocoon, a shoe and tree branches. I’m sure each viewer can pick out their own unique images.
One translator says the phrase entre chien et loup can also be used to express the sometimes blurry line between the safe and familiar and the unknown and dangerous, between the domestic and the wild. It expresses the uncertainty between hope and fear.
That seems a perfect description of our current time. Many activities that were safe and familiar before COVID-19 can now be dangerous. The pandemic has placed us all in that space between hope and fear. We hope an end to the pandemic will come soon but we also live in fear that it may go on for a long time or even worse never end.
Living in a entre chien et loup kind of space whether by necessity or choice, might not be comfortable but I wonder if we don’t learn the most when we are in entre chien et loup situations.